|HERBAL SIMPLES APPROVED FOR MODERN USES OF CURE
W. T. FERNIE, M.D.
Author of "Botanical Outlines," etc_
Our English Daisy is a composite flower which is called in the
glossaries "gowan," or Yellow flower. Botanically  it is
named _Bellis perennis_, probably from _bellis_, "in fields of
battle," because of its fame in healing the wounds of soldiers; and
perennis as implying that though "the rose has but a summer reign,
the daisy never dies," The flower is likewise known as "Bainwort,"
"beloved by children," and "the lesser Consound." The whole plant
has been carefully and exhaustively proved for curative purposes;
and a medicinal tincture (H.) is now made from it with spirit of
wine. Gerard says: "Daisies do mitigate all kinds of pain,
especially in the joints, and gout proceeding from a hot humour, if
stamped with new butter and applied upon the pained place." And,
"The leaves of Daisies used among pot herbs do make the belly
soluble." Pliny tells us the Daisy was used in his time with
Mugwort as a resolvent to scrofulous tumours.
The leaves are acrid and pungent, being ungrateful to cattle, and
even rejected by geese. These and the flowers, when chewed
experimentally, have provoked giddiness and pains in the arms as
if from coming boils: also a development of boils, "dark, fiery, and
very sore," on the back of the neck, and outside the jaws. For
preventing, or aborting these same distressing formations when
they begin to occur spontaneously, the tincture of Daisies should
be taken in doses of five drops three times a day in water.
Likewise this medicine should be given curatively on the principle
of affinity between it and the symptoms induced in provers who
have taken the same in material toxic doses, "when the brain is
muddled, the sight dim, the spirits soon depressed, the temper
irritable, the skin pimply, the heart apt to flutter, and the whole
aspect careworn; as if from early excesses." Then the infusion of
the plant in tablespoonful doses, or the diluted tincture, will
answer admirably  to renovate and re-establish the health and
strength of the sufferer.
The flowers and leaves are found to afford a considerable quantity
of oil and of ammoniacal salts. The root was named _Consolida
minima _by older physicians. Fabricius speaks of its efficacy in
curing wounds and contusions. A decoction of the leaves and
flowers was given internally, and the bruised herb blended with
lard was applied outside. "The leaves stamped do take away
bruises and swellings, whereupon, it was called in old time
Bruisewort." If eaten as a spring salad, or boiled like spinach, the
leaves are pungent, and slightly laxative.
Being a diminutive plant with roots to correspond, the Daisy, on
the doctrine of signatures, was formerly thought to arrest the
bodily growth if taken with this view. Therefore its roots boiled in
broth were given to young puppies so as to keep them of a small
size. For the same reason the fairy Milkah fed her foster child on
this plant, "that his height might not exceed that of a pigmy":--
"She robbed dwarf elders of their fragrant fruit,
And fed him early with the daisy-root,
Whence through his veins the powerful juices ran,
And formed the beauteous miniature of man."
"Daisy-roots and cream" were prescribed by the fairy godmothers
of our childhood to stay the stature of those gawky youngsters
who were shooting up into an ungainly development like "ill
weeds growing apace."
Daisies were said of old to be under the dominion of Venus, and
later on they were dedicated to St. Margaret of Cortona. Therefore
they were reputed good for the special-illnesses of females. It is
remarkable there is no  Greek word for this plant, or flower.
Ossian the Gaelic poet feigns that the Daisy, whose white
investments figure innocence, was first "sown above a baby's
grave by the dimpled hands of infantine angels."
During mediaeval times the Daisy was worn by knights at a
tournament as an emblem of fidelity. In his poem the _Flower and
the Leaf_, Chaucer, who was ever loud in his praises of the "Eye
of Day"--"empresse and floure of floures all," thus pursues his
"And at the laste there began anon
A lady for to sing right womanly
A bargaret in praising the Daisie:
For--as methought among her notes sweet,
She said, '_Si doucet est la Margarete_.'"
The French name _Marguerite _is derived from a supposed resemblance
of the Daisy to a pearl; and in Germany this flower is known
as the Meadow Pearl. Likewise the Greek word for a pearl is
A saying goes that it is not Spring until a person can put his foot
on twelve of these flowers. In the cultivated red Daisies used for
bordering our gardens, the yellow central boss of each compound
flower has given place to strap-shaped florets like the outer rays,
and without pollen, so that the entire flower consists of this purple
inflorescence. But such aristocratic culture has made the blossom
unproductive of seed. Like many a proud and belted Earl, each of
the pampered and richly coloured Daisies pays the penalty of its
privileged luxuriance by a disability from perpetuating its species.
The Moon Daisy, or Oxeye Daisy (_Leucanthemum Orysanthemum_),
St. John's flower, belonging to the same tribe of plants,
grows commonly with an erect stem about two feet high, in
dry pastures and roads, bearing large solitary flowers which are
balsamic and make a  useful infusion for relieving chronic
coughs, and for bronchial catarrhs. Boiled with some of the leaves
and stalks they form, if sweetened with honey, or barley sugar, an
excellent posset drink for the same purpose. In America the root is
employed successfully for checking the night sweats of pulmonary
consumption, a fluid extract thereof being made for this object, the
dose of which is from fifteen to sixty drops in water.
The Moon Daisy is named Maudlin-wort from St. Mary Magdalene,
and bears its lunar name from the Grecian goddess of the
moon, Artemis, who particularly governed the female health.
Similarly, our bright little Daisy, "the constellated flower that
never sets," owns the name Herb Margaret. The Moon Daisy is
also called Bull Daisy, Gipsies' Daisy, Goldings, Midsummer
Daisy, Mace Flinwort, and Espilawn. Its young leaves are
sometimes used as a flavouring in soups and stews. The flower
was compared to the representation of a full moon, and was
formerly dedicated to the Isis of the Egyptians. Tom Hood wrote
of a traveller estranged far from his native shores, and walking
despondently in a distant land:--
"When lo! he starts with glad surprise,
Home thoughts come rushing o'er him,
For, modest, wee, and crimson-tipped
A flower he sees before him.
With eager haste he stoops him down,
His eyes with moisture hazy;
And as he plucks the simple bloom
He murmurs, 'Lawk, a Daisy'"!
This book is provided for historical purposes only. Please see a competent health care professional for diagnosis and